Council readies Pampanga for ‘Big One’

The Pampanga provincial government on Monday gathered public and private sector members of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) to draft an earthquake contingency plan.

Chaired by Governor Lilia G. Pineda, the PDRRMC organized the three-day workshop as a study of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) showed that “Pampanga is also at high risk ​of the effects of Big One and we should prepare for the worst before it strikes,” PDRRMC officer Angelina Blanco said.

The Big One refers to a scenario where a 7.2-magnitude earthquake would occur as triggered by a shift in the Valley Fault System (VFS), which last moved between 400 and 600 years ago. The West VFS stretches more than 100 kilometers through Bulacan, Rizal. Metro Manila, Cavite and Laguna. The East VFS runs 10 kms in Rizal province.

“Pampanga does not sit on a fault line but the fault lines in Bulacan and Zambales are expected to affect us,” Blanco said.

“Should cracks happen on Angat Dam in Norzagaray in Bulacan, coastal Pampanga will likely be a catchment of water,” she added.

Vice Gov. Dennis Pineda, PDRRMC vice chair, said a “contingency plan is deemed vital to ensure that we are prepared and organized to efficiently and effectively respond when it strikes.”

While earthquakes are among the hazards being addressed by the PDRRM plan, the contingency plan is hazard-specific and contains actual mechanisms for responding to earthquakes, Blanco said.

The Office of Civil Defense is helping facilitate the workshops in the planning.

The PDRRMC consists of the Pampanga provincial government, Pampanga River Flood Forecasting and Warning Center, Philippines Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Department of Trade and Industry, National Food Authority, National Telecommunications Commission, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine Information Agency, Land Transportation Office, Department of Education and Department of Public Works and Highways.

The PDRRMC also includes the Association of Barangay Health Workers of Pampanga, Pampanga Association of Water Districts, Pampanga Disaster Response Network, Center for Emergency Aid and Rehabilitation Inc., Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Philippine Red Cross and PAGASA Youth Association.

The provincial government has also updated its DRRM plan through workshops last May 2 and 3, 2017. It incorporated more climate change mitigation efforts.

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